Linbrig Pele

Has been described as a Questionable Pele Tower, and also as a Questionable Bastle

There are no visible remains

NameLinbrig Pele
Alternative NamesLinbriggs; Linn Bridge; Linnebrigg; Ducket Knowe
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAlwinton

The farmhouse at Linbrigg stands above the north bank of the Coquet on a commanding site overlooking the valley. A survey of 1541 noted that a stone tower had stood there but it had been destroyed by the Scots. It noted that the stones had been piled up by the owner Roger Horsley so that he could build a new tower. There are no signs of any structure to be seen now. There is, however, a large pile of stones covering an area with a diameter of 22m and a maximum height of 1.5m, on Ducket Knowe. These are possibly the remains of a dovecote as this is what the name 'Ducket' means. (Keys to the Past)

"At the Lynne bridge there has been a stone house belonging to Roger Horsley, but it was pulled down by the Scots in time past, and the owner has gathered the stones to a place of greater strength nearby, to build a new bastle house." (So described in the Survey of 1541) (Not listed in the 1415 Survey pp 12-20) (Bates 1891).

A Border stronghold once stood at Linnbrigg, probably on the level plot of ground near to the present farm buildings. This was the most westerly pele in Upper Coquetdale. Of Roger Horsley's stone house there is now no trace, but on the Ducket Knowe, a rising piece of ground in a field to the east of the Linnbrigg, on the right hand side of the road leading to Alwinton, there is a large pile of stones, probably the 'place of greater strength' where the owner had gathered the material with which to build his new bastle but had not been able to do so (Dixon 1903).

Ducket usually means Dovecote, and the lord's dovecote, belonging to the Horsley's, may have stood there (Dodds 1940).

NT 8920 0626 The farmhouse at Linbrigg stands above the north bank of the River Coquet, at approx 590 feet above sea-level

The river turns from a southerly course to an easterly one, so that the farmhouse site commands the valley to the north and east, while it is strongly defended naturally, by the river, which flows through a steep sided ravine, to the south, west and north. High ground rises from the river to the north-east and gentle slopes rise to the north-west. Altogether, the site is an excellent one for a stronghold. No traces are to be found of the Bastle in or around the farmstead. Strategically, the Ducket Knowe would be an inferior situation. Upon its highest part, is a great spread of small loose, angular stone, turf-covered, with a diameter of approx 22.0m and a maximum height of 1.5m. The absence of any large stones in the mound appears to rule out the suggestion that it represents the remains of a defensive structure. It may be remains of the dovecote however. (At NT 8960 0624). The manor of Aldensheeles was held by the Horsleys in 1317 (F1 ASP 07-MAY-57). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

King writes that Harbottle and Philipson suggest a site at NT893069. Given map reference is for Linbrig farmhouse but it may be that the 'stone house' of the 1541 survey was that uncovered by Harbottle and Philipson at NT89620609. However it should be noted this house was a stone long-house, probably of only one storey, not a pele-house bastle. It should also be noted, despite the comments in PastScape and Keys to the Past the 1541 survey does not call Roger Horseley's house a tower. It seems unlikely this was the site of a gentry status hall house with a 'pele tower' but the is a possibility there was a pelehouse type bastle and it seems certain there was an intent to build a defensible house probably of that form.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNT892062
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 185-6
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 115 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 351
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 227
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 131-2
  • Dodds, Madeleine Hope (ed), 1940, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 15 p. 436
  • Dixon, D.D., 1903, Upper Coquetdale Northumberland: Its History, Traditions, Folk-lore and Scenery (Newcastle-upon Tyne: Robert Redpath) p. 34 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 44 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)


  • (Harbottle and Philipson), 1968, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 12 p. 198 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 44 online copy

Primary Sources